How to Report Waste, Fraud, and Abuse of Authority to the House Foreign Affairs Committee

 

As you already know, the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) has oversight relating to the management and operations of the State Department.
HFAC has an online reporting tool for whistleblowers.  Federal employees may report waste, fraud, and abuse of authority to HFAC. The website says “You may remain anonymous if you choose. However, if you provide a way to contact you, it will make us better able to follow up on your report.” 
Below via HFAC:

Whistleblowers are entitled to protection under federal law. If you are a covered federal employee or applicant for federal employment you have the right to confidentially and, if you choose, anonymously report waste, fraud, or abuse of authority, without facing retribution or loss of your position.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee Democratic office is committed to rooting out mismanagement, wrongdoing, and abuse of authority in the federal government and to protecting government employees, applicants, and contractors who bring such information to light.

If you know of wrongdoing and wish to report it, you can use this secure online form. You are not limited to reporting to your agency’s ombudsman or inspector general.  You may report wrongdoing to the Committee and still be entitled to whistleblower protection. Please contact us if you have questions about whether whistleblower protections apply to you.

A few things to know about reporting wrongdoing at your agency:

    • It can make a difference.  Often, employees who are aware of wrongdoing choose not to come forward because they believe nothing will change.  This Committee and other Congressional offices are committed to stopping waste, fraud, and abuse.  If you have something to report, this Office will review your submission and take appropriate action.
    • The law allows you to report any information to Congress. Our staff can assist you in understanding what protections exist for federal employees who report wrongdoing.
    • Many whistleblowers come forward.  Federal employees who report problems at their agencies play an invaluable role in making sure our government works the way it should.  Not every whistleblower story ends up on the front page of the paper, but the information whistleblowers provide is constantly helping Congress fulfill its oversight role.
Click here to submit your report.

Billy Goat on Grass Field by Pixabay

###

@StateDept Spent Millions on AutoInjectors to Counteract Nerve Agent Exposure, Guess What Happened?

WaPo’s Jon Swaine has an investigative piece on a $120 million State Department contract on a treatment for nerve agent poisoning. According to the report, WaPo has “obtained internal company records, reviewed emails from Emergent staffers and government officials, and interviewed nine people involved in making, selling or buying the Trobigard injectors.”
WARNING! This will get you mad.

“In June 2017, a director of regulatory affairs at the government contractor Emergent BioSolutions told colleagues that she objected to claims the company was making in a brochure for one of its newer products: a drug injector for victims of exposure to nerve agents.

“Functionality testing has not been successful in this device,” Brenda Wolling wrote in comments obtained by The Washington Post. Regarding a claim that the injector was designed to withstand “challenging operational and logistical conditions,” she wrote, “No testing ever conducted.” Even to describe the product as a “treatment of nerve agent poisoning,” Wolling wrote, “implies that we have efficacy data showing it works.”

Three months later, the Trump administration awarded Emergent a $20 million no-bid contract to supply those very injectors to the State Department. The firm later received a second contract, worth up to $100 million, to supply the agency with more of the injectors — sold under the name Trobigard — and related treatments.”

Apparently, the State Department told Emergent that it had obtained a legal opinion from the FDA’s general counsel saying the department could buy Trobigard for use by U.S. diplomats overseas, citing a company record. The report says, the company “has not sought approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — a circumstance that bars the product’s sale in the United States.”

“By September 2017, State Department officials were increasingly alarmed at chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime and the Islamic State and were anxious to boost protections for U.S. diplomats. The agency gave Emergent a one-year contract worth $20.5 million to supply auto-injectors. Under the deal, Emergent delivered 456,845 auto-injectors — enough to provide several for each of 58,000 Foreign Service officers and local employees overseas.

No bid competition was held, on the grounds that there was “unusual and compelling urgency” after Pfizer’s production halt, according to contract records. The injectors were needed to protect officials who “operate in countries with active and/or assumed chemical [redacted] programs,” the records show.
[…]
Emergent’s 2017 deal with the State Department entailed a sharp increase in spending by the department above earlier plans. In August 2015, the department had been preparing to pay Meridian $750,000 per year for five years to replace expiring devices, according to records of an abandoned deal.”

The company-funded study in the Netherlands tested the drugs on guinea pigs exposed to sarin gas. That’s right guinea pigs.

“Six weeks after the State Department signed the deal, Emergent’s first study of Trobigard’s drugs was completed. The company-funded study in the Netherlands tested the drugs on guinea pigs exposed to sarin gas and recorded positive findings. As they published their work in a scientific journal, the study’s authors warned that the results “cannot be directly extrapolated to the human situation.”

Can the embattled OIG still take this on as a special project? Can House Foreign Affairs (HFAC) or House Oversight Committee (HORC) take a look?

“In July, Emergent leaders ordered that Trobigard sales materials be scrapped and that the device be moved to a portion of the company’s website that lists products in development, the company confirmed. They also told staffer to make sure all future sales materials for Trobigard were approved by the company’s medical, legal and regulatory departments.

Emergent put together evidence that all injectors bought by the State Department were safe, former employees said. Government officials ultimately agreed. In September 2019, the State Department authorized the payment of a $10 million contract installment to Emergent.”

You need to read this in full. A State Department “no comment” is not acceptable.

Extracted data below from SAM.gov, the new fedbiz, with links to the contracts. Are there more that we’ve missed?

EMERGENT COUNTERMEASURES INTERNATIONAL LTD

  • Unique Entity ID (DUNS)220984617
  • CAGE CodeU1C03
  • AddressBUILDING 3, LONDON, W4 5YA

Registration

  • Expiration Date Jun 23, 2021
  • Purpose of Registration All Awards
  • Debt Subject to Offset  No

Continue reading